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Foday Sankoh Was Based In Trumansburg: Witness

April 30, 2008

Tubmanburg (TRC)?A witness told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that the late Sierra Leonean rebel leader Corporal Foday Sylvanus Sankoh was based in Tubmanburg, Bomi County in 1990 before launching an incursion in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Testifying Wednesday at the ongoing rural public hearing of the TRC in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, a resident of Tubmanburg, Mustapha Nyei, 60, said former president Charles Taylor, then-leader of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), visited Sankoh at his base in Tubmanburg in 1990.

Nyei said before fighters of Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) attacked the Bo Waterside frontier to launch their incursion in Sierra Leone, Sierra Leonean and Liberian fighters were transported from Robertsport City, Grand Cape Mount County to Tubmanburg to be briefed by Corporal Sankoh.

Following the briefing, Nyei explained the fighters boarded three pickup trucks for the Sierra Leonean border at Bo Waterside where they launched an invasion.

"Foday Sankoh was based here in Tubmanburg. That was no secret around here. When Taylor came here, he stayed here with Sankoh for nine days, and everyone saw them here," the witness explained.

He said RUF fighters based in Robersport and Tubmanburg Cities were under the command of General Oliver Varney and other commanders he only named as: "One Man One," "CO Korto," and Dixon Wollo.

Mr. Nyei said at regular intervals Sankoh left his Tubmanburg base to visit his RUF fighters in areas occupied by the group in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Taylor is standing trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in neighboring Sierra Leone where Sankoh was a rebel leader.

Corporal Sankoh himself died in prison while standing trial for war crimes at the United Nations-backed War Crimes Court in Freetown.

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and put all human rights abuses that occurred during the period from 1979 to 2003 on record. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

The ongoing rural public hearing in Bomi County is being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past, For A Better Future."

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